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Michelle Jones, 15, attending La Plata High School, had heard about the College of Southern Marylands Educational Talent Search (ETS) program from her aunt and signed up. The program, funded by the Department of Education and offered through all six Charles County High Schools and some middle schools, prepares first-generation or low-income students for college and career pursuits. We have more than 900 students in the program and a 98 percent rate of placing those students in two- or four-year institutions, said ETS Outreach Counselor Jehnell Linkins. Students meet throughout the school year and during the summer. Now, in her third year, Jones enjoys elements of the program that show her how to be a better young adult and prepare her for college. In addition to summer excursions to visit institutions such as Virginia Commonwealth University, Stevenson University, McDaniel College, and Lincoln and Cheyney universities in Pennsylvania, the program teaches skills needed to write knock-the-ball-out-of-the-park college essays. Here, Jones is working on a writing assignment to compare and contrast two musical artists. Im interested in bio-medical to be an OB-GYN, said Jones, adding that she would like to attend University of California, Berkeley or the University of Maryland.